TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York City area, New Jersey and Connecticut are seeing their first cases of the uncommon respiratory illness that has shown up in children in a dozen states.
Health officials said Wednesday that a New York City child and a Long Island elementary school student have been diagnosed with enterovirus D68.
Officials say the Long Island patient is recovering at home in North Hempstead.
They didn’t provide information on the other child’s condition.
Meanwhile, enterovirus D68 was identified in a specimen sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by a Philadelphia hospital where a New Jersey child was being treated.
The New Jersey Health Department says the child, who has not been identified by age, town or name, has improved and been discharged. It is the first-ever enterovirus D68 case in the state.
Connecticut also confirmed its first case of the illness Wednesday. Dr. Karen Santucci of Yale-New Haven Hospital’s children’s emergency department said a 6-year-old girl was treated there last week and discharged.
Other hospitals in Connecticut have suspected cases of enterovirus D68 and are awaiting test results.
Doctors also suspect a handful of children who are recovering at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center were stricken with the virus.
Last week, New York state’s Health Department said there are confirmed cases of the virus in central New York and in the Albany area.
According to the CDC, there have been 140 lab-confirmed cases in 16 states. No deaths have been reported.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd is advising parents and health care providers to be aware of the symptoms, which include cough, runny nose, sneezing and muscle aches and possibly a low-grade fever.
“The New Jersey Department of Health is closely monitoring for increases in respiratory illness in hospitals around the state,” O’Dowd said in a statement. “If you, or your child, are experiencing cold-like symptoms and are having difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider right away.”
New York City health officials say they, too, have been monitoring hospital admissions to “to detect changes in the number of children admitted for respiratory illness, asthma, and influenza-like illness.”
The virus is spread through contact with an infected person or via contaminated surfaces.
New Jersey Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan said enterovirus is fairly common among kids this time of year.
“But enterovius D68 is a little bit less common,” she told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.
Tan said children with underlying illnesses, such as asthma, seem to experience more severe complications.
“We remind New Yorkers that the best way to prevent the spread of many infectious diseases is through frequent and thorough hand washing, and parents with concerns should consult their child’s doctor,” the NYC Health Department said in a statement.
Nassau County Commissioner of Health Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein also advises parents to avoid sending sick children to school and other public places.
In addition to urging people to wash their hands thoroughly, the Nassau County Department of Health recommends the following steps to protect against enterovirus 68:
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
For more information from the New Jersey Department of Health, click here.
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